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Actress Jean Simmons dies

Actress Jean Simmons, one of the most beguiling movie actresses of the 1940s and '50s, has died at the age of 80. She may have been best known for her performance of Ophelia, opposite Laurence Olivier in "Hamlet" (1948), and as a conflicted evangelist in 1960's "Elmer Gantry," with Burt Lancaster.

Adam Bernstein has written an obituary.

In another of her more celebrated roles, Simmons played opposite Marlon Brando in "Guys and Dolls" in 1955:

By Matt Schudel  |  January 23, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
 
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Also James Mitchell, one of the great Broadway dancers and professional partner of Agnes de Mille. When he grew too old to dance he reinvented himself as an actor, playing Palmer Cortlandt for decades on All My Children. His portrayal of a good ol' country boy who reinvented himself as a womanizing, superior patrician was apparently originally a very subtle parody of William F. Buckley.

Posted by: Blurgle | January 23, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I first saw Jean Simmons when I was a very small child in Fairhaven, Massachusetts when she was about 15 years old. I think I was three or four. The film was Blue Lagoon, the original version, which no one seems to have heard of though it was remade twice since then. For the rest of my life she has been my favorite movie star.
I have never written on a blog before, but I write today because I believe she deserved to be honored as one of the best actresses the film industry has ever produced.
Miss Simmons was greatly under-rated in her lifetime,and I'm sorry for that. I have long hoped that her industry would honor her finally with the life-time achievement Oscar.
She appeared opposite every major star, and for many years placed among the top ten box office draws in the business. She played in every genre, and even, late in her career, took on the role of Desiree Arnheldt in Sondheim's "A Little Night Music."
She was truly a wonderful and versatile artist. She fought her demons like every artist, and conquered them. She was unashamed to share her failures and modest about her successes.
To her family, I offer my deepest sympathy. she's been like a big sister to me since Blue Lagoon, and I will miss her.

Posted by: fangharrisonAOLCOM | January 23, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Like Mr. Harrison, Jean Simmons was one of my favorite actresses from the time I was a child.
She had a dignity and grace with which she endowed every role she played.
And she was a beauty.
I remember her first in "The Robe" and "Desiree".
Her portrayal of Aimee Semple McPherson in "Elmer Gantry" was a real challenge and she she pulled it off with high style, making the woman preacher very human and real to me.
I didn't see "Black Narcissis" until it played on Turner Classic Movies.
I could hardly believe my eyes; I thought I recognized Jean Simmons, but had to check the credits to verify her part.
She gave a wonderful performance in "Guys and Dolls".
She brought a lot of pleasure and joy into the world of her fans.
God bless her and may He comfort her children in their grief.
Thank goodness we have all those wonderful films with which to remember her.
Thanks, Mr. Bernstein for your well-written and interesting obituary.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | January 24, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

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